Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Have the learned members of the Central Board of Film Certification of India gone into a deep slumber or have they suddenly woken up and grown aware of the need to change with the changing times. These are two alarming questions that come to mind after seeing some recent films and the glaring changes that have been noticed and all of them are changes that are being received with mixed reactions.
It all started with the 17 kisses of Mallika Sherawat in Khwahish and not one of the kisses were objected to by the censors, who once did not even let the lips of the 'kissers' touch. The kiss in Hindi films was symbolized by two roses embracing and caressing each other in a garden nearby as the lovers were covered in the dark. The 17 kisses made the film a 'hot' (lips), seller at the box office and made Mallika 'the queen kisser' who did some more bold scenes in the film and shot to stardom of a strange kind and was called the heroine of the bold and brave new generation.
Then came Vishal Bharadwaj's Omkara a film inspired by William Shakespeare's Othello. The film shocked the orthodox audience with some of its scenes and more because of the inflammatory, crude and even foul language that they said could shock even the roadside rowdy or the streetwalker. The scenes and the harsh and hurting language, which would not have been allowed, no chance by the censors once were passed because they were essential to the film. The film with all its merits will go down in Hindi film history as the film crossed all limits of verbal vulgarity, thanks to the scissors of the censors, which touched and tackled the film delicately.
Some months ago Vinod Pandey who has always made sex-based shocking films bordering on pornography made a film called Sins. It was a story of a Roman Catholic priest who takes a vow of celibacy but breaks that vow violently when he has a torrid affair with a woman with sex as the base of their relationship. The cross, the sacred symbol the Christians dangling around his body during all the sex scenes shocked the sensibilities of the silent community of the Christians. They raised their voices in protest but the Sins had already been committed once the film was passed by the censors. It was, according to the clergy of the church, one of the sickest films made with Christianity at its base.
And now the same Vinod Pandey has come up with a film called Red Swastik (made in Hindi). One wonders what inspired the filmmaker to make a weird film like this. It is the story of a young woman who is a psychotic killer. She hates all men because she was gang raped once while her lover kept watching helplessly (the gang rape is picturised with sexual profanity at its worst). She then goes on a rampage. She turns into a high-level prostitute, lures men into her trap, has some of the most lurid scenes with them and then turns them unconscious with drugs and drinks and mercilessly mauls them to death after branding a red swastika sign on the forehead of the victim. She has a victim every ten minutes and the sex scenes grow more vulgar and the murders more brutal and bestial. She even doesn't leave the main detective who is on her prowl. The entire police force of the city finds it difficult to locate her. She is finally cornered but she kills herself in the last of her brutal acts. The film shocks and keeps on shocking endlessly and ends up leaving the viewer in a daze wondering why a film like this should have been made but it has not only been made but passed by the censors without a single cut.
And now even a film like Dhoom 2 made by Yash Raj Films, a banner which is known for its films which are aimed at wholesome entertainment has leading ladies like Aishwarya and Bipasha dressed in the skimpiest of clothes and to top it all it has some daring kissing scenes between Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya. Is it a sign of the changing times, in keeping with the global trends or just to shock the audience and make them ask for more? The censors seem to be in a mood to grow more and more liberal but how far will they go? Will there come a time when they will have someone to censor what they censor?
Subhash K Jha speaks on Dharm
Subhash K Jha speaks on MP3